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‘Just like we drew it up’: Baker Mayfield a quick learner in thrilling Rams debut

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Sean McVay didn’t waste any time.

Verify that: The Rams coach allowed greater than 12 minutes to run out earlier than he couldn’t management himself any longer.

The analysis of recent quarterback Baker Mayfield wanted to start.

Overlook that Mayfield arrived solely 48 hours earlier.

Mayfield got here on instead of starter John Wolford for the second collection of Thursday evening’s sport towards the Las Vegas Raiders. And on his first snap, he accomplished a 21-yard move.

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But it surely was the end that followers will keep in mind.

Mayfield engineered two fourth-quarter scoring drives, capping his debut with a landing move to Van Jefferson with 10 seconds left for a 17-16 victory earlier than a Raiders-heavy crowd of 74,738 at SoFi Stadium, which for one evening anyway was Baker’s Discipline.

“I don’t know in the event you may write it any higher than that,” Mayfield mentioned.

The Rams couldn’t have felt higher. They ended a six-game shedding streak and improved their document to 4-9.

“You neglect what profitable’s like,” McVay mentioned, “and it positive is enjoyable.”

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The evening was all about Mayfield, and whether or not the No. 1 decide within the 2018 NFL draft generally is a viable choice as Matthew Stafford’s backup subsequent season — and maybe past.

The preliminary learn: Completely.

“No matter occurs from right here on out, I received nothing however respect for Baker Mayfield,” receiver Ben Skowronek mentioned. “To have a man are available like that, work his tail off for 48 hours, be taught the sport plan, be taught our names…. He’s the kind of competitor you wish to play with.”

Mayfield was large within the clutch and confirmed the kind of arm energy and launch that McVay adores. He accomplished 22 of 35 passes for 230 yards, together with the landing to Jefferson.

Not a nasty Rams debut for a much-maligned participant who was traded by the Cleveland Browns in July and waived this week by the Carolina Panthers.

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“Hats off to Baker,” heart Brian Allen mentioned. “We have been educating him cadences in the course of performs. Time to get on the market and see what occurs. And it occurred.”

Quipped McVay: “Identical to we drew it up.”

The Rams’ Van Jefferson (12) catches the sport profitable 23-yard landing move towards the Raiders.

(Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Instances)

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McVay mentioned he was impressed by Mayfield’s management, resilience and composure.

“And what a fast examine,” McVay mentioned. “He simply received right here 5 minutes in the past.”

Mayfield, who has performed for quite a few coordinators, mentioned McVay and Rams assistants and gamers helped him with a “crash course” in greedy the offense.

“I used to not essentially complain about the truth that I had that many various offensive programs and having to be taught that, nevertheless it got here in useful when having to be taught a crash course and with the ability to relate sure issues,” he mentioned.

The Rams now have some further time to organize for his or her Dec. 19 sport at Inexperienced Bay, the primary of 4 remaining video games towards the Packers, Denver Broncos, Chargers and Seattle Seahawks.

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And 4 extra probabilities for Mayfield to make his case.

“It’s been a troublesome 12 months, to be trustworthy,” Mayfield mentioned. “A great way to kick-start this journey.”

McVay had mentioned on Wednesday that it could be “unprecedented” for a quarterback to play with so little preparation with a brand new crew.

Properly, these are unprecedented instances for McVay and the defending Tremendous Bowl-champion Rams, who’ve nose-dived with a Tremendous Bowl hangover.

Stafford, 34, is on injured reserve due to spinal wire contusion and is anticipated to be out for the remainder of the season.

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Rams quarterback Baker Mayfield is congratulated by Raiders linebacker Curtis Bolton.

Rams quarterback Baker Mayfield is congratulated by Raiders linebacker Curtis Bolton after main the Rams to a 17-16 comeback victory.

(Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Instances)

Wolford was questionable for Thursday’s sport due to a neck harm.

So, the Rams claimed Mayfield, who had not performed since Nov. 20. However McVay was clearly intent on discovering out if he may repair him.

When gamers got here out for early warmups about 90 minutes earlier than kickoff, Wolford was not on the sphere. Mayfield, in shorts, a blue Rams sweatshirt and black headband, took all of the snaps as third-string Bryce Perkins seemed on.

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Mayfield briefly met on the sphere with tv announcers Al Michaels and Kirk Herbstreit in one thing akin to a last-minute manufacturing assembly to make up for the one he may need completed the day earlier than.

However when the Rams got here out in uniform for normal warmups, Wolford took snaps with the starters.

The Raiders scored on the primary possession for a 7-0 lead, and when the Rams received the ball and went three and out, Wolford’s evening was over.

Mayfield, sporting No. 17, got here on the following collection and fired a 21-yard completion to Jefferson on his first play. The drive ended with a 55-yard subject objective by Matt Homosexual.

Mayfield had the Rams on the transfer within the subsequent collection, finishing 22-yard passes to Tutu Atwell and Skowronek earlier than working again Cam Akers killed the drive by shedding a fumble.

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Josh Jacobs rushed for a landing and Daniel Carlson’s two subject objectives gave the Raiders a 13-3 halftime lead.

A lot of the second half didn’t go nicely for Mayfield and the Rams. He was sacked a number of instances and penalties stifled a drive that compelled Homosexual to aim a 61-yard field-goal that went large left.

Late within the third quarter, nevertheless, Mayfield directed a 17-play, 75-yard scoring drive that ended with Akers’ brief landing run that pulled the Rams to inside 16-10 with simply greater than three minutes left.

The Rams received the ball again at their two-yard line with 1:45 left, and Mayfield’s 32-yard move to Skowronek keyed a drive that ended with Mayfield’s 23-yard scoring move to Jefferson.

“Simply exhibits the kind of man that he’s,” Jefferson mentioned of Mayfield, including, “He’s a troublesome man. I’m glad he’s right here.”

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The Rams protection saved giving Mayfield probabilities by limiting the Raiders to subject objectives or creating turnovers. Linebacker Ernest Jones intercepted a move in the long run zone close to the tip of the second quarter. And Taylor Rapp clinched the victory with an interception.

Linebacker Bobby Wagner had a game-high 14 tackles — and marveled at Mayfield.

“The protection gave [the offense] us an opportunity to come back on the sphere and make these performs,” Wagner mentioned. “He got here on and did a tremendous job.

“It was nice to observe.”

McVay thought in order nicely.

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“To say that I anticipated this,” he mentioned, “I imply it actually exceeded our expectations.”

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Geno Smith gives update on contract talks with Seahawks: ‘It’s looking very good’

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Seattle Seahawks quarterback Geno Smith is coming off the perfect season of his skilled soccer profession.

The 32-year-old turned a Professional Bowler in 2022 and threw for a career-high 30 touchdowns whereas main the Seahawks to the playoffs. Smith had not been a beginning quarterback within the NFL since 2014. 

He was additionally environment friendly and topped all different beginning sign callers together with his league-best 69.8% completion proportion.

Quarterback Geno Smith of the Seattle Seahawks warms up earlier than a recreation in opposition to the Arizona Cardinals at State Farm Stadium Nov. 6, 2022, in Glendale, Ariz. 
(Chris Coduto/Getty Photographs)

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Smith is about to develop into an unrestricted free agent when the brand new league 12 months begins in March.

Following the Russell Wilson commerce, Smith took the beginning job and signed a one-year deal in April that included a base wage of $3.5 million. The veteran quarterback earned a further $3.5 million in incentives.

NFL HALL OF FAMER DETAILS ADVICE HE GAVE TO EAGLES’ JALEN HURTS HEADING INTO SUPER BOWL

Smith will seemingly be on the lookout for a major elevate after his robust 2022 marketing campaign, however he has hinted he needs to stay within the Pacific Northwest.

“We’ve had talks, and we’re within the means of getting all that settled proper now,” Smith mentioned Friday. “It’s wanting superb. We predict we are able to get some issues completed, however clearly these issues take time. That is the method that I hate concerning the NFL as a result of I simply need to play soccer. But it surely’s a enterprise as properly, so we have got to deal with enterprise, after which we’ll get again to the soccer.”

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Smith additionally shared his appreciation for the Seahawks giving him a possibility to achieve success.

“I actually needed to show these guys proper,” he mentioned. “For them to see the work I’ve been placing in — as a result of I’ve been placing in an immense quantity of labor behind the scenes — for them to acknowledge that meant so much to me.”

Geno Smith of the Seattle Seahawks celebrates after defeating the Los Angeles Rams in overtime at Lumen Field Jan. 8, 2023, in Seattle.

Geno Smith of the Seattle Seahawks celebrates after defeating the Los Angeles Rams in additional time at Lumen Discipline Jan. 8, 2023, in Seattle.
(Jane Gershovich/Getty Photographs)

Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll had beforehand shared his need to maintain Smith for 2023. Normal supervisor John Schneider additionally advised Sports activities Radio 93.3 KJR-FM he thinks Smith shall be re-signed. 

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Seattle does have the choice of utilizing its franchise tag on Smith if the 2 sides are unable to return to an settlement on a contract extension.

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Seattle Seahawks quarterback Geno Smith (7) runs past Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle Jonah Williams (92) during the first half of a game Jan. 8, 2023, in Seattle. 

Seattle Seahawks quarterback Geno Smith (7) runs previous Los Angeles Rams defensive sort out Jonah Williams (92) in the course of the first half of a recreation Jan. 8, 2023, in Seattle. 
(AP Photograph/Abbie Parr)

Throughout an look on “The Pivot Podcast,” Smith declined to specify the scale of the contract he’s hoping for however mentioned he “would like to be in Seattle.”

“I like Seattle,” Smith mentioned. “We’ve got an excellent relationship, and I feel we’ll work issues out. With regards to contracts, I feel each participant simply needs to receives a commission his price. And it is humorous as a result of an excellent pal of mine tells me, ‘It doesn’t matter what examine they write, it’s going to by no means be your price as a result of your price is not in cash, it is not in financial issues.’ So that you simply need to be revered,” Smith mentioned.

The Seahawks and Smith exceeded expectations in 2022. The group went from 7-10 in 2021 and 9-8 this season and made the postseason for the fourth time in 5 years and ninth time in 11 seasons.

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LeBron James closes in on scoring record, but is Kyrie Irving still in the picture?

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Rely it out: 5 seconds. Hardly sufficient time for something significant to occur within the first 47 minutes of an NBA sport.

However Saturday night, 5 dangerous seconds on the finish of the third quarter shifted the sport dramatically and helped ship the Lakers dwelling losers, 131-126 to the New Orleans Pelicans, who had misplaced their final 10 video games.

The Lakers (25-29) fell to thirteenth within the 15-team Western Convention, however nonetheless simply two video games out of a spot within the play-in match.

When will LeBron James turn out to be NBA’s all-time main scorer?

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A have a look at LeBron James’ pursuit of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for the all-time scoring report.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar factors: 38,387

LeBron James factors: 38,352

Factors from report: 36 factors

Projected video games till report: 2

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Projected report date: Feb. 9 vs. Bucks

New Orleans led for simply 13 seconds earlier than storming previous L.A. within the fourth quarter, powered by the Lakers’ disastrous end to the third quarter, which began with a simple bucket by the Pelicans that was adopted by a reckless inbounds move, a Pelicans steal and a momentum-swinging three.

They’re the sorts of letdowns which have led to rising frustration contained in the Lakers locker room, over what coach Darvin Ham calls “self-inflicted” errors.

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Saturday, the errors — none bigger than Wenyen Gabriel’s inbounds move — proved deadly.

“What number of video games do we have now left?” LeBron James mentioned after scoring 27 factors, pulling him to inside 36 of passing Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for the NBA report.

“Twenty-eight video games left, we’re nonetheless doing the identical stuff again and again.”

Adjustments might be coming — the commerce deadline is Thursday. However after a day of rampant hypothesis, there’s pessimism that the Lakers will swing a deal for Kyrie Irving, due to the star Brooklyn level guard’s contract calls for in free company this summer season, sources with information of the scenario not licensed to talk publicly advised The Instances.

Irving is predicted to hunt a four-year most contract, with the Lakers preferring a two-year deal, aligning with the 2 years remaining on James’ deal.

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Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving controls the ball during a game against the San Antonio Spurs on Jan. 2.

Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving controls the ball throughout a sport towards the San Antonio Spurs on Jan. 2.

(Frank Franklin II / Related Press)

Requested if Irving is the kind of participant who may assist get the Lakers nearer to contending for a championship, James mentioned after all.

“Clearly that’s a — what’s the phrase you utilize? — ‘duh’ query while you discuss a participant that like that,” he added.

The Lakers’ present star level guard, Russell Westbrook, who has been in commerce rumors for a lot of his time in L.A., denied the deadline was negatively affecting the locker room, as did Anthony Davis and James.

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“That’s a part of the sport,” James mentioned. “We’ve acquired, what, one rookie in right here. Shouldn’t be a difficulty. Occurs yearly. The commerce deadline occurs each single 12 months.”

After scoring 72 factors within the first half and main by 12, the Lakers lazily defended within the second half, constructing to the game-changing closing seconds of the third.

With the Lakers forward by eight within the closing 10 seconds, Westbrook took his eye off C.J. McCollum, the Pelicans guard simply attending to the basket for 2 of his 23 factors. Gabriel threw a brutal cross-court move that McCollum tipped and Jose Alvarado intercepted, the Pelicans guard hitting a 3 to chop the Lakers’ result in three, igniting the group.

It’s the sort of steal Alvarado is thought for and a play the Lakers mentioned of their scouting report. It started a stretch by which the Pelicans scored 14 of the subsequent 16 factors and L.A. by no means led once more.

“In that juncture of the sport, it’s disheartening. It’s disappointing. However, I imply, you simply gotta bear in mind. All antennas must be up,” Ham mentioned. “You need to continually attempt to be enhance possession by possession by possession on either side of the ball. And we simply had a lapse. We had a psychological lapse.”

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After sturdy late play in wins at New York and Indiana, the Lakers bungled the tip Saturday, making simply seven of their final 21 photographs. Davis, who scored 34 factors, had simply two within the fourth.

Westbrook, who was questionable due to an sickness earlier than being cleared at sport time, performed solely 58 seconds within the quarter, Ham electing to shut the sport with James, Davis, Patrick Beverley, Dennis Schroder and Troy Brown Jr.

Former Laker Brandon Ingram scored 35 factors to guide the Pelicans.

The Lakers return dwelling for Tuesday’s sport towards Oklahoma Metropolis with James in attain of the report.

“I simply wish to win,” he mentioned. “Need to play the sport the best method and see what occurs.”

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Aaron Rodgers has message for former teammate Davante Adams as the receiver tries to recruit him to Raiders

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Davante Adams thinks he is reuniting with outdated pal Aaron Rodgers, however the four-time MVP needs some assist.

Earlier this week, Adams responded to a tweet that requested “which neighborhood” the Inexperienced Bay Packers quarterback was headed to for the 2023 season.

Adams quote-tweeted it and answered, merely, “Mine.”

Aaron Rodgers (12) and Davante Adams (17) of the Inexperienced Bay Packers stroll off the sector after a recreation towards the Detroit Lions at Lambeau Area Sept. 20, 2021, in Inexperienced Bay, Wisc. 
(Wesley Hitt/Getty Pictures)

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The Packers traded Adams to Las Vegas, the place the stud receiver teamed up together with his quarterback from Fresno State, Derek Carr.

Vegas and Carr are more likely to go their separate methods, placing the Raiders in want of a quarterback.

Somebody let Rodgers learn about Adams’ tweet on the AT&T Pebble Seaside Professional-Am.

Davante Adams of the Las Vegas Raiders reacts against the San Francisco 49ers during the third quarter at Allegiant Stadium Jan. 1, 2023, in Las Vegas. 

Davante Adams of the Las Vegas Raiders reacts towards the San Francisco 49ers through the third quarter at Allegiant Stadium Jan. 1, 2023, in Las Vegas. 
(Chris Unger/Getty Pictures)

DOUG WILLIAMS, FIRST BLACK SUPER BOWL-WINNING QB, LIKENS THIS YEAR’S BIG GAME TO BARACK OBAMA’S ELECTION

“Aaron, I heard Davante is in search of a neighbor, bro,” a fan mentioned.

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Rodgers replied, “Inform him to purchase me a home. He’s bought that cash now.”

One other fan gave Rodgers a “Raiders” chant, and the Tremendous Bowl XLV champion could not assist however crack a smile.

Reviews say that Rodgers and the Packers are more likely to transfer on from each other this offseason after a number of seasons of the connection turning tumultuous.

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers waves to fans as he leaves the field following a game against the Los Angeles Rams in Green Bay, Wis., Dec. 19, 2022. 

Inexperienced Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers waves to followers as he leaves the sector following a recreation towards the Los Angeles Rams in Inexperienced Bay, Wis., Dec. 19, 2022. 
(AP Photograph/Morry Gash)

The Packers went 8-9 in 2022, lacking the playoffs within the final recreation of the season with a 20-16 loss to the Detroit Lions.

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